Big Hero 6 attentive to American dummies

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      Featuring the voices of Ryan Potter and Scott Adsit. Rated G.

      There’s exactly one laugh-out-loud joke in Big Hero 6—something to do with a fist pump—and then it’s ruined through repetition. The same exploitative streak runs throughout this film, Disney’s first animated take on a Marvel Comics property. Based on a series cynically written by two Americans to woo manga readers, Big Hero 6 transmogrifies the original’s Tokyo setting into “San Fransokyo”, the better to ensure no American dumdums are alienated. But that just gives rise to disorientation and pesky thoughts like “Why do the brothers have Japanese names when their aunt is lily-white and named Cass?” A cool explanation could make everything right, but Disney’s only interested in cross-cultural box office.

      The “hero” of the title is Hiro Hamada (Ryan Potter), a 14-year-old who follows his brother into “nerd school” by inventing microrobots that appeal to a professor (James Cromwell). The microbots can create any shape and do just about anything, but that’s not enough for Disney. There’s also an inflatable robot doctor named Baymax (Scott Adsit, aka Pete Hornberger in 30 Rock) that Hiro’s brother invented. He becomes Hiro’s best friend and guardian. Aunt Cass (Maya Rudolph) is just there to dispense hugs; it’s kind of sad how clueless she is.

      When Hiro’s microbots are repurposed for evil, his brother’s nerdy friends come to the rescue and, along with Baymax, turn into the techno-superhero gang of “6” of the title. Perversely, Baymax has more personality than all the humans combined. The plot lurches from one predictable sequence to another, pausing only to give Baymax something funny to do or to make us marvel at a 3-D vista. A lot of money and marketing strategy went into this movie. Not much inspiration came out of it.